New York Senator Calling for Full Licensing for MGM Empire City
New York Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins is fully backing MGM Empire City for a full commercial casino license.
Three casino licenses are up for grabs in New York State, as the downstate area preps to offer new commercial casino gaming options. The region is currently home to two casinos, Resorts World at Aqueduct and MGM Empire City at Yonkers Raceway. Both venues have a shot at earning the license and are expected to be favored first. New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins has now come out in support of MGM obtaining one of the available licenses.
Supporting MGM and A Sped-Up Bidding Process
This week during a press briefing, the senator stated that she is supporting her hometown casino and has seen the venue has done the work needed to gain approval. She is also in support of Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposal that would speed up the process for bidding. The goal is to bring commercial casino gaming to the New York City area or surrounding suburbs.
Hochul has been working hard to push the process instead of waiting until 2023 as was originally planned. If her plan is approved, the state Gaming Commission could issue licensing this year and applicants could begin issuing their intention to vie for licensing.
With the senator’s backing, the process looks good for Empire City and Resorts World. Both facilities have plans to apply for a full license, allowing each venue to offer more than the slot games currently on-site. Live card tables could be added.
MGM started offering services back in 2006 and today provides over 5,300 slot games. Resorts World is a bit larger, offering around 6,000 machines, starting services in 2011. Both properties have the support of the community and have been proven providers of revenues for many years. Adding commercial gaming in the mix would produce more revenues as well as add jobs to the region.
Both venues would be able to work quickly to branch out and offer new options. If the licenses were to go to brand-new facilities, it would be quite a while before a full-service casino would be up and running.
The Current Market
Right now, New York is home to 11 casinos, all located in the upstate area. Seven of the venues are operated by Native American tribes. The remaining four were allowed based on a constitutional amendment put in place back in 2013.
At the time, the amendment allowed four casinos in the upstate area and by 2023, the three downstate licenses could be passed out. The long length of time in-between the two was set so that the upstate venues could build a solid player base before the other operations began.
With the onset of COVID-19 and how hard New York state was hit, revenues are needed now. Lawmakers have been working tirelessly to bring the licensing process up from the 2023 date and get the ball rolling much sooner.
With the governor’s plan, the existing penalties towards downstate operators as listed in the amendment would disappear. The licensing process could then begin and if the MGM and Resorts World properties are approved, they could start offering services fairly quickly.
It is assumed that both will earn a license and then a brand-new facility will be given the third option, opening somewhere close to New York City. Exactly where and which company will be chosen remains a mystery. There is no doubt that operators will be lining up, trying to receive the license.